SITABDIARA (Bihar): Senior BJP leader L K Advani today began his 38-day Jan Chetna Yatra from here to take on the UPA government on the corruption issue and press for return of black money stashed away abroad.
"I am formally launching my Jan Chetna Yatra against corruption and for bringing back black money stashed away abroad," Advani said at a public meeting at Gandhi Maidan, the starting point of the yatra which was flagged off by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
Advani praised veteran socialist Jayprakash Narayan, saying he had brought along all non-Congress parties- other than the Communists- together against the "corrupt" Congress government in the 1970s.
Drawing a parallel between the circumstances prevailing then and now, Advani said, "Corruption should end in this country. There should not just be a change of leadership but also a change in the system.
"People have today lost faith in the potential that this country has. The biggest achievement of this yatra would be to restore that belief," he said.
Advani said the inspiration for this yatra had come from the work carried out by Jayprakash Narayan.
The 84-year old leader also emphasised that the yatra is aimed at good governance and clean politics, as also the issues of Lokpal and for bringing back black money stashed away abroad.
"The success of all the past movements have been in creating awareness among the people," Advani said, adding both the freedom struggle and Jayprakash movement had a similar aim of educating the people about the atrocities of the British and the corruption in Congress regime respectively.
The yatra will go through 23 states and four union territories. Advani, who is undertaking his sixth yatra, will visit the North-East, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Jammu, Gujarat, the southern states as well as the poll-bound states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Goa.
Soon after his arrival from Patna by a chopper, Advani, together with Nitish Kumar, his deputy S K Modi, Leaders of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley respectively, visited the ancestral house of late Jayaprakash Narayan and garlanded his statue.
Advani’s rath-yatra will cover around 7,600 km and nearly 100 districts across the country.
The senior leader said the 21st Century belonged to India and "we should take a pledge to ensure that the country emerges as one of the foremost nations in the world."
Advani also praised the Bihar Chief Minister, saying he had brought about a sea-change in the state since the NDA government came to power in 2005.
"I had only once requested him to flag-off the yatra and he had readily agreed," Advani said.
In his speech, Kumar welcomed Advani for choosing Jayprakash Narayan’s birthplace and his birth anniversary for starting his yatra against corruption. He enumerated the various measures taken by his government to fight the menace.
He recalled that the JP movement had also started in Bihar and said nobody had then thought that the Congress will be voted out of power.
Extending support to Advani’s yatra, Kumar said, "We don’t promise support only by words but also by deeds."
Swaraj and Jaitley were lauded by Advani for effectively taking on the UPA government in Parliament not only on the issue of corruption but also on other issues. (PTI)